CHAPTER 4 – “MONTAUK, THE BEGINNING”
By Paul Bikoff
“Let the children remember the sun
Let them dance let them soar
For their lives have begun
Let the children engender the rain
As the river runs through fields
Forever subsiding their pain…”
Written by Corey Hart
From CELINE DION A NEW DAY HAS COME
Early 1970’s – and we are booked for Montauk , at the tip of the South Fork onLong Island. The brown, boxey , 5- speed with heavy duty clutch,ugly-as-sin LandCruiser station wagon (yes it was called a stationwagon because S.U.V.’s did not exist) was loaded to the gills. It did have a lot of room and with a family of 5 with 3 youngsters we had a ton of stuff. We rendezvous with sister and then we head East.
Our 2 vehicles make good time as we pass through theHamptons. I spot Christie Brinkley loading up her wagon inEasthampton. This was a time of no gridlock because the world’s population had not yet expanded to 6 billion with 5.9999 billion of them living out East. Before you knew it, we had turned ontoOld Montauk Highway. We wipe off the drool as we drive by Gurney’s, but we are headed for a fairly low-budget place – The Breakers Motel . No oceanfront view, but the kids weren’t complaining so why should the adults? The motel staff were very friendly and accommodating. The bungalow that we shared with Junie and Lauren and Stevie was spacious and quite comfortable. The bobwhites were saying hello from the thickets. Plus there was a kidney-shaped swimming pool and shufflebored (yes, I intended to spell it this way) for the monsters…But the kids weren’t monsters…most of the time they were angels…
Gorgeous, sunny morning. Sun-of-a-beach day ! Now the motel is located on the North side ofOld Montauk Highway. It’s a very long walk for everyone to get down to the shoreline and set up the blankets. So we had to make sure everything, including lunch, was packed. My wife, Louise is a fabulous packer. And Junie is an equally incredible packer.
Tuna salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, beverages, all the shovels and pails, towels, radio somehow managed to be squeezed into the carrying cases and schlepped to the water’s edge. It was sort of like a blivot – which everyone knows is a five pound turd in a2 poundbag. This was a good harbinger of what was to come down the pike in the day’s ahead – Junie’s laundry room off the den. But I’ll get to that in a later chapter.
A day at the beach was an all day affair. It would just whiz by. Of course, there were seasons when we would have overcast, cool and cloudy weather. We would still go down to the beach with all the kids to take a walk. Junie would say : “Allright, give me all the shoes and socks – roll up the pants – AND DON’T GO IN TOO DEEP! I DON’T WANT ANY WET CLOTHES !!!” The kids listened for the first 5 minutes …then, forgettaabout it! Junie never got mad…We would laugh…and laugh… and laugh…
Junie would take a picture of me surrounded by the five monsters. It’s my favorite photo in the world. I ’ve carried it in my wallet for ages.
It’s nighttime in the bungalow. The kids have had all the sand showered off. They’ve been wined and dined at a delicious restaurant in town. They’re in their pajamas…It’s bedtime and they’re sleepy…Well, maybe not that sleepy…They should be sleepy…
So Stevie and Dan start whispering. Then Lauren and Rach start in…Then Jay, The Eldest, pipes in as he’s been known to do…So Junie very calmly says: “Kids, we have a big day planned for tomorrow, so…” All’s quiet on the eastern front for a few minutes, then 2 of them start up again with the other 3 not far behind. Junie now with a slight
Uptick in her voice ; “Do I have to come in there?!”…Complete silence for 5 minutes.
Then a different 2 start up again… Junie, totally in command of the situation, graciously offers in a booming voice: “GO TO BED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” That always worked…